United v City. Mourinho v Pep. Red v Blue. Tough tackling and tough talking as Paddy Power’s new football ambassadors Did Hamann & Paul Ince are on opposite side’s for Saturday’s smash-up.
Hamann: Neither team will want to lose the game so that makes backing the draw at 12/5 tempting, possibly even the 0-0 correct score at 8/1. It’ll definitely be low scoring. At this stage of the season both teams would be happy with the point.
Ince: No chance. Definitely not a draw, Manchester United will win it. It’s at Old Trafford – or the Theatre of Dreams. When you’ve played for Man United Didi, it’s the Theatre of Dreams, when you haven’t, it’s just Old Trafford. United are more equipped to win it at home on Saturday, and I’m backing a 3-1 win at 18/1.
I even think Marouane Fellaini will get the first goal at . Look at Manchester City’s team – bar Nicolas Otamendi they’re not a tall unit and set pieces will trouble them.
As a player playing in big games, it’s all about the midfield. If you win the midfield battle, nine times out of 10 you will the game. City have a strong midfield – but Paul Pogba will make all the difference for United. He has all the attributes to be a great player. He’s strong, he can tackle, and he can score goals. Because of him, United will win the midfield battle, and the game.
DH: There are 22 top class players on the pitch so there will be key battles everywhere, but Incey is right – it’s all about about controlling the game and you do that by bossing the midfield.
Hands down, Manchester United have got a better central midfield. David Silva is playing deeper for Manchester City now, and Fernando & Fernandinho are good players in their own right, but the mix that United have now is incredible.
Paul Pogba has power, pace and presence. Morgan Schneiderlin is a tactically astute player and then they have Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick.
Although it’ll be a battle in the middle of the park, I can’t see anyone heading for an early bath. No-one is standing out from those teams to get a red card. City haven’t got a red card merchant, and although Chris Smalling was sent off in the derby a couple of seasons ago United don’t have any brusiers in that squad.
There’s only been one red card in the last nine Manchester derbies!
PI: I disagree with Didi – there will be a red card. The way refereeing is at the moment, you can get booked for any kind of dissent. It’s a passionate game and that’s hyped up because it’s a Manchester derby. You only have to make one tackle, or say one wrong word to the referee and you get shown a card.
That’s sucking the passion out of the game now. Myself and Didi would never survive in the modern era. As soon as someone argues with a ref now you’re going to get a yellow card. We couldn’t last in it.
Players want to show their will to win – and that’s going to get someone sent off. I’ll even have a bet with Didi if he wants. This Manchester derby is massive – and it probably carries even more substance and pressure now because of the two managers.
DH: I’d rather have played under Jose Mourinho. Pep Guardiola is very intense. He changes things all the time from the touchline, and he tries to restrict players and puts pressure on them. At times he really suffocates his team and gives them no freedom.
Mourinho is great because he has a relationship with all of his players. I think he really puts his arm around his key guys and says “Listen lads, you’re my man.”
PI: Mourinho had to get away from Chelsea and he is rejuvenated now at Manchester United. I’d much rather have played for him than Pep. I know there was a situation once where they didn’t shake hands but they seem okay with each other now. So there may not be any antics on the touchline – although it wouldn’t be a bad thing if there was.
Fans want to see passion. Louis van Gaal sat in the dugout last year and showed no emotion. Fans want to see it, that’s why Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, and Antonio Conte are loved by their own fans, because they show that passion.
DH: I don’t mind if there is a bit of touchline aggro, but only if there’s a genuine incident – like someone having a go at somebody and sparking an altercation.
I don’t want to see managers purposefully winding one another up on the touchline. Mourinho has done it in the past, but he shouldn’t start playing those games.
PI: No Didi, you want to see that. We are getting to the stage in football where we are stopping everything now, you can’t speak, you can’t argue, you can’t be on the touchline. It’s madness.
DH: I would lose respect for a manager if he was jumping around up and down like a clown every week on the touchline.
PI: A bit like Klopp, then?